Friday, February 17, 2017

Updates — Trump and Robots

Just a quick followup post, providing a few updates on Don't be a Reactionary and A Futurist View of the Welfare State. I'm hard at work on my next long post, which is about France, immigration, culture, and the National Front, but it's at least a week away, so I wanted to leave you all with something.

First, the anti-LGBT executive order I predicted in Don't be a Reactionary did not go into effect, though there were extensive leaks, suggesting that it was at least written, if not implemented. Recently in the news, there was a high profile axing of LGBT rights by Jeff Sessions. Clearly, some people in the White House (looking at you, Pence), are still working towards that, even though my exact prediction did not come to pass.

Secondly, though I didn't know all the details at the time I was writing A Futurist View of the Welfare State, major AI researchers met back in January to discuss future and societal implications of AI. Their analysis vindicates my own, and the later think pieces summarizing their views have titles like The AI Threat Isn’t Skynet. It’s the End of the Middle Class. The consensus view seems to be more in line with this paper, which estimates that "each additional robot reduces employment by about seven workers, and one new robot per thousand workers reduces wages by 1.2 to 1.6 percent." More robust write-ups are available from people who actually attended the conference (I wasn't invited).
More Shameless Theft from Scott Alexander's Much Better and More Popular Blog
Other corroborating points have been made since, most notably by our resident shape-shifting alien wizard Elon Musk at the World Government Summit: "There will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot cannot do better... What to do about mass unemployment? This is going to be a massive social challenge. And I think ultimately we are going to have some sort of universal basic income. I don’t think we have any choice.”

His full speech is available on youtube, but the relevant bit starts at around 45:25.

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